Here’s Why Broncos Rookie Patrick Surtain II Is So Special

Patrick Surtain

Getty Patrick Surtain II poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell onstage after being selected ninth by the Denver Broncos during the 2021 NFL draft.

Denver’s first-round draft choice Patrick Surtain II has stolen all the headlines this offseason and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.

Despite a highly impressive showing in the preseason, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio told Denver media on Thursday, September 2 that his star rookie is constantly growing in stature.

“I just think he’s gotten better each and every week,” Fangio said. As we’ve talked about, we’ve put a lot on his plate. He’s learning three positions. It’s hurt his development at some of those positions.

“That’s just the way it’s going to be because you have to learn them. Comparing him to Ronald Darby or [Kyle] Fuller, they play corner—nothing else. Well, he’s playing two other ones on top of that. But he’s been good at it. He’s very capable, and he keeps growing in all three roles.”


Pat Surtain II – The TE Stopper

Late last month, Broncos’ all-time sack leader Von Miller maintained his status as unofficial president of the Surtain fan club, speaking glowingly about his freakish ability.

“I’ve been talking about this Pat Surtain guy for forever,” Miller said on August 19.

“He gets a pick 6 in his first game as a Denver Bronco. I’ve been in the league 11 years and I’ve never witnessed that. He’s going to be a special player. It’s a blessing to be his teammate, and it’s a blessing to experience his greatness at this early age.”

Six days later, Miller followed his glowing commentary up with further praise, suggesting Surtain could take the task of defending the AFC’s best tight ends.

“Pat Surtain, he’s going to be on [Chiefs TE Travis] Kelce and [Raiders TE Darren] Waller and all those guys,” Miller revealed. “So, I’m excited. We’ve got a great team and it should lead to a lot of wins for us this year.”

Fangio was asked about Miller’s comments during his September 2 press conference, and in typical fashion left all avenues open.

“It’s possible,” Fangio said. “It depends upon what coverage we’re in and how we plan to match it up on each and every week. He’s true in what he’s saying and accurate, but it may not always be that way.

“His size and length [are] helpful. When you play a good receiving tight end—which we do—everybody says, ‘Well, they’ve got to put a DB on him.’ Some of those guys like when a DB is on them because there’s such a size discrepancy.

“[When] you put a linebacker on them, and the size is maybe evened up but the athleticism—there’s could be a discrepancy. There really is no perfect position to put on the guy. You’d like a DB that has size or a linebacker that has some DB movement qualities. In Patrick’s case, he’s got the size to possibly do that and the length.”

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Surtain Had Zero ‘Struggles’ Thus Far

Fellow corner Ronald Darby shed light on his assessment of Surtain’s assimilation of Denver’s defensive schemes.

“I haven’t seen any struggles at all,” Darby said on September 2. “He came in like a vet. His mind was right, he comes to work every day. He picks up things, he’s smart, athletic. He’s got everything.”

It seems like Fangio, Miller and Darby aren’t the only Broncos impressed by Surtain, with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell providing an insight into how rare some of his trait are.

“It’s kind of rare,” Donatell said in reference to Surtain II’s ability to recognize route concepts and make a play this early in his career, on August 19.

“We’re just learning about Pat as he goes along,” he said. “You have to give credit to him. He listens to his veterans. He’s transitioning into the game and he’s earning the respect of our veterans. We’re really happy with his start.”

Surtain II’s versatility will be of great benefit to the already-vaunted Denver defense. He’ll have his first opportunity to officially announce himself to Broncos Country against the New York Giants on September 14.

Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic


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